LENO -- THE NEW IS OLD, SAY CRITICS
After months of intense promotion for the "all new" Jay Leno Show, the show finally debuted Monday night, with 17.56 million viewers tuning in to see what Leno and company had come up with. Critics were quick to point out, however, that there wasn't much that was "all new" about the show at all -- except the one-hour-earlier start time. The New York Times quoted Shari Anne Brill, a TV analyst for the Carat media agency as saying, "I feel like I am watching late-night in the Central time zone." (All network TV shows air one hour earlier in the Central time zone than they do elsewhere.) Analysts noted that the show included numerous commercials for auto manufacturers, many of which have drastically reduced their ad spending in recent months, and for movie studios, most of which prefer advertising on Thursday night, the day before the weekend rush to the multiplex. Early reviews ranged from apathetic to caustic (see separate item), with most agreeing that Leno's interview with Kanye West wound up as the single highlight. West, in a barely coherent apology, appeared remorseful for his conduct at the MTV video awards over the weekend. ("I'm just ashamed that my hurt caused someone else's hurt. My dream of what awards shows are supposed to be, 'cause, and I don't try to justify it because I was just in the wrong. That's period.")
LENO'S NEW SHOW LEAVES CRITICS COLD
At the beginning of Hank Stuever's review of The Jay Leno Show in the Washington Post, he writes, "It's like going to bed really early. It feels old." He concludes it by remarking, "And who won't watch Jay when nothing else is on, or when the nurse won't come change the channel?" Mary McNamara, the Los Angeles Times's TV critic agreed. "This is the future of television?" she asked facetiously. "This wasn't even a good rendition of television past." McNamara commented that Leno's opening monologue seemed "like an attempt to cash in on the current vampire fixation -- comedy of the undead." Verne Gay at Newsday used almost identical words: "The future of television Monday night looked a lot like the past." And Alessandra Stanley echoed in the New York Times: "The future of The Jay Leno Show is likely to look almost exactly like The Tonight Show past." Robert Bianco in USA Today described it as a cut-rate, snooze-inducing, rehashed bore," then remarked, "If Leno's desire is to help fans get to sleep earlier, desire satisfied." Said Damian Holbrook at TVGuide.com: "I've seen Discovery heath documentaries that are funnier than The Jay Leno Show." On the other hand, Maureen Ryan, the TV critic for the Chicago Tribune, allowed that while Leno is not the funniest comic host, "he is one of the hardest-working men in show business." And several critics thought that it was too early to make snap judgments about the show. "As the weeks unfold, it will be interesting to see if Leno lets himself go a little, if he pushes himself and his comedy into new places," commented Matthew Gilbert in the Boston Globe. Likewise Tim Goodman of the San Francisco Chronicle kept a running commentary going on his blog software throughout the show, concluding, "It's impossible to judge a show from one episode. And I'm sure I'll check back in periodically. But not tomorrow. Or the next day. I've seen enough."
ANALYSTS PREDICT HULU WILL UNDO TV NETS
Raising the specter of television experiencing the same catastrophe as newspapers as the Internet advances, Soleil Securities analyst Laura Martin is warning that Hulu could cannibalize the TV audience and cost the networks $920 per viewer in advertising. As detailed in Mediapost, Martin observed that Hulu has already grown to 38 million monthly viewers who together watched 457 million streamed videos in July. Even so, she noted, Hulu will lose $33 million this year, but given its growing audience and technical advances, there is little doubt that it will succeed. As it does so, she predicts, consumers will drop their cable subscriptions and watch their TV shows on demand, with fewer commercials. In the long term, she adds, Hulu will not be able to expand the number of ads. "We don't expect the Internet audience to ever put up with as many commercials as there are on TV," she wrote. She advised the networks that they should stop running commercials for Hulu. "Moving viewers from the TV to the PC is value destructive," she warned.
FOX DENIES LOSING MONEY BECAUSE OF BECK PROTEST
Claims by Glenn Beck protesters Color of Change that their campaign has resulted in 62 companies refusing to advertise on Beck's show, costing Fox $600,000 per week, were described by a Fox News spokesperson as "wildly inaccurate on all fronts." The spokesperson has claimed that its "revenue has not been affected in any way" by the protest.